James 1:25 in The Message version of the Bible says this:
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God–the free life!–even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
I. Love. This. Verse.
As someone who is a follower of Jesus, I believe all scripture is capital “T” truth; but let me tell you why this verse is especially true in my life.
I’ve been taking lots of risks in the past couple of months. Some of them minor, like trying to detox from coffee for a week. Definitely a risk to my mental sanity. Others have been bigger, like making plans to move to Miami, Florida, or trying to sell my car: for no other reason than a nudge from the Holy Spirit. The risks I’ve taken have lead me into awkward (and sleepy) conversations with coworkers, quitting my steady job, putting a big pink “for sale” sign in the windshield of my car, ditching going to law school, ripping up my lease to couch surf, and a myriad of other things. It’s been anything but comfortable.
The thing I’ve been learning? Jesus is always faithful. Not only have I had a roof over my head, but I’ve been fed, loved on, and cared for by church (read: family!) members while I work on my move south. I thought I’d never sell my car off the street, but a man called yesterday to make me an offer on it that exactly matched the number Jesus told me to sell it for. Coworkers are asking me about my faith and my church like never before, and my writing career is finally gaining traction as I agree with Jesus about what he made me for.
I was gushing about all of this awesomeness to a friend a few days ago. I said to her in our conversation, “Isn’t it awesome how Jesus NEVER drops you?!”
There were crickets on the other line.
“Yea,” she said, “except I feel like he’s dropped me.”
My enthusiasm suddenly died as I wondered why I was having this experience of faith and she wasn’t. “What is the missing link here, Lord?” I prayed silently.
Reading this verse from James today, I realized it’s one simple word: risk.
Moving to Florida, detoxing from coffee, inviting my coworkers to church and selling my car were never MY plans. If I were to judge God’s faithfulness based on what I wanted for my life, well, let’s just say he wouldn’t be getting a passing grade. I’m not a best-selling writer with a law degree running for Senate living in Boston driving a Land Rover married to Matt Damon with two Golden Labrador Retrievers.
God doesn’t promise to do what we want him to; God promises to be faithful to what he says he will do.
Jesus was the one calling me out onto the water in all of these areas of my life. I never knew the whole plan, the minute details, or even exactly where I have been going or why–but I opened my eyes up enough to what the Lord was doing that I caught a glimpse of it, and that is all I needed. Not only did I look for what he wanted me to do, I took action. I moved out of my house with no job waiting for me in Florida. I bought a plane ticket home and put a for sale sign in my car, not knowing if I’d have any takers. I stuck with it, and because of it, I’m getting to see God’s faithfulness as my reward. I am starting to understand what James says when he writes “they will find delight and affirmation in the action.”
Unless we risk with Jesus, we won’t be able to experience the reward of Jesus. Just like you will never get to feel the adrenaline rush of jumping off a high dive from sitting in the shallow end, you’ll never get to experience the delight of Jesus’ catch if you sit on the sidelines of Christianity.
What risk is Jesus asking you to take this week?